Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW) in Dayton, Ohio. It was fantastic. The only way I can sum up the experience in less than 500 words is to compile a list. These are the top nine bits of insight that I took away from the workshop and the one unfortunate thing I did not come away with.

9.  Writers are approachable. The ones at this conference were sweet, funny, and personable. In fact, if you ran into a rather notable one in the elevator and started stammering, she may have complemented your toenail polish just to calm you down. Writers can be gracious like that.

8.  Just write. Get it on the page, even if it is crap. It can be beautified afterwards. Usually. And if not, that is ok too. Practice is good.

7.  Memoir writing isn’t therapy. Don’t use it as revenge. Be kind to yourself and others. Erma would want it that way.

6.  Take classes and continue to go to conferences. There is always more to learn.

5.  Join and stay involved with writing and critique groups.

4.  When you win an Erma centerpiece, it is a sign that you MUST write. Erma would say so.

3.  All writers, successful or not, believe at one time or another and repeatedly, that they are imposters. I am in good company.

2. Write. Quit making excuses and do it. You can write. So do it. At least a little bit, every day. All the presenters were very adamant about this. Pushy, really.

1. It is imperative to have at least one friend with no agenda. I was very fortunate to have found a fabulous Agendaless Forever Friend (AFF) in Dayton. She doesn’t particularly like dogs, but her great taste in shoes more than makes up for it.

The one thing I did not get from this conference: The Erma Flu! Not sure how I was lucky enough to avoid it, especially considering my new AFF went home with a horrible case of it, as did so many of the others we met. This brings to mind one last thing:

  1. Don’t play Duck, Duck, Goose with the Flu. Travel with hand sanitizer. I think Erma would agree.